I received a great question today: what is the effect of the NCLB waiver (if granted) on SINA transfers? I didn’t know the answer, but as far as I can tell SINA transfers will end in Iowa if Iowa’s NCLB waiver application is granted, based on the following:
From the ESEA Flexibility document attached to Arne Duncan’s September letter to Chief State School Officers:
Flexibility in Implementation of School Improvement Requirements: [If a waiver is granted] An LEA would no longer be required to comply with the requirements in ESEA section 1116(b) to identify for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring, as appropriate, its Title I schools that fail, for two consecutive years or more, to make AYP, and neither the LEA nor its schools would be required to take currently required improvement actions; however, an SEA may still require or permit an LEA to take such actions. An LEA would also be exempt from all administrative and reporting requirements related to school improvement under current law.
ESEA section 1116(b) contains the requirement that students be offered SINA transfers. If Iowa’s waiver is granted, SINA transfers would no longer be required.
Iowa’s NCLB waiver application proposes replacing the SINA designation with a classification system ranking schools from Distinguished to Unacceptable.
Among other things, the highest performing schools will get a special logo, to use on their website and letterhead, and a Governor’s award.
Among other things, the lowest performing schools will be required to notify parents of school status and share the interventions implemented through School Continuous Improvement Plans. They will be required to implement turnaround principles. They will be provided assistance from the DE to investigate innovations that have been proven to increase student achievement. They may be converted to charter schools by the district. The lowest performing Title I schools will be required to set aside 20% of the district’s Title I allocation for implementation of turnaround principles, creating extended learning opportunities for students, and professional development. I see no requirement for districts to offer transfers out of their lowest performing schools.